- The Darkest Surrender
Then, not long ago, the Hunters had somehow managed to find Distrust and pair the demon with a new host, one of their choosing. A female. She had yet to challenge the Lords, probably still too lost to the evil inside her to do more than moan and writhe and beg for relief.
“Diego?” someone muttered.
“Yeah,” a man with a slight Spanish accent replied.
“Yes, sir.” There was a nervous tremor to the words.
“Markov, Sanders, hold his arms. Just in case he wakes up before he dies. Billy, cut deep and cut fast. There’s no room for error.”
“I’m not stupid. We’ve gone over this a thousand times,” was the belligerent reply from the man who’d kicked Kane.
“Yes, we have, but this is go time, our one and only chance. If we aren’t careful, his demon will escape the cave before Diego can absorb it.”
O-kay. There would be no waiting, no reaching Stefano, Kane decided. They were going to murder him and try and pair his demon with a Hunter, thinking to control Disaster and use the demon to fight for their cause. To destroy his friends. To rule the world.
Cue evil overlord laugh, Kane thought dryly, then sobered. This was serious business.
Get ready, he told his demon.
The churning quickened, quickened, and the entire cave shook. Just a little. Just enough to cause dust to plume in the air and pebbles to fall from the ceiling, thudding on the ground.
“Doesn’t matter. Just hurry. Let’s get this done. Knife?”
Strong hands suddenly gripped Kane’s arms and flipped him over so that he was lying on his back. Those same hands pushed, hard, pinning him in place. Kane didn’t wait a second longer.
The shaking increased swiftly, the falling pebbles becoming falling boulders. Boom, boom. Boom! Someone screamed in pain. Kane was released. There was another scream, a round of curses.
Finally, Kane opened his eyes. Just in time, too. A boulder was heading straight for him. He rolled out of the way, coughing as his mouth filled with dirt and debris. The abrupt movement tore the stitches riding the curve of a rib.
His gaze panned his surroundings in one swoop. He was in a cave, just as he’d suspected, though it was more spacious than he would have believed possible, branching in several different directions. No wonder the Hunters had so easily overpowered his original captors. Not even an army could protect itself from ambush here. There were too many places to hide.
The Hunters scrambled for cover. The shaking continued and the rocks rained down. Another scream, a grunt. The crunch of breaking bone.
Kane lumbered to his feet. That’s the way, buddy. Keep at it.
“Don’t let him escape,” someone shouted.
“Got him in my sights!”
A sharp pain lanced through his leg. A dark curse left him. Someone had shot him. He hurried to one of the darkened enclaves, dodging the boulders along the way. More shaking, more boulders. Soon he would be trapped. If he wasn’t already. But there was no way to stop a disaster of this magnitude once it had started.
He honestly didn’t mind the prospect of dying. He’d almost died a thousand times before and had long ago prepared himself for the eventuality. At least he was taking these Hunters with him. Not that Kane would give up without trying to save himself. His warrior instinct would allow nothing less.
He searched the shadows for a way out…saw the barest crack of light to the right. Not stopping to think, he dove for it, jerking at the rocks, widening the airy space, ignoring the twinges of pain shooting through him.
William? He stilled, stiffened. Shit. Shit! If he killed his friend…
“Human!” William shouted angrily. Someone must have shot at him. “You’re gonna hurt for that.”
Boom, boom, boom.
“Get out of here,” Kane shouted. “Run!”
“Kane, damn it! Where are you? I didn’t knock Nurse Ratchet out and travel all the way down here to my least favorite place just to play hide-and-seek with you. Get your ass over here!”
Kane pushed to his feet, inhaling more dust. He raced out of the safety of the enclosure—just in time to see William grab a Hunter by the throat. He wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see the massive rock descending on him.
And because Kane was watching William, he didn’t see the massive rock descending on him.
“SWEET SUNRISE, THAT was amazing.”
Paris rolled away from the grinning, panting female and her glistening sweat-sheened body to peer up at the ceiling. As he’d hoped, Arca hated Cronus and hadn’t minded betraying the god king. As he’d dreaded, she’d had a price— Paris’s body, his demon’s scent arousing her the moment he stepped inside her chamber.
He’d just spent the past hour pleasuring her in a way he was sure she’d never been pleasured. She had enjoyed every second of his attention, while he had loathed himself, his actions.
You do what you have to do.
He hadn’t had to worry about interruptions. The spacious bedroom was hidden in the back of the harem. A bedroom Arca couldn’t leave. Cronus had actually cursed her so that she would experience utter, absolute agony if she stepped outside the spacious boundaries of her “home.” And having learned from the mortals and their mistakes, the king had ensured there were no windows for the goddess to utilize.
Clearly, the king had thought it was better to deprive Arca of sunlight and fresh air than to chop off her long, silky hair.
She propped herself up on her elbow and stared down at him, white braids draped over her shoulder. “Well?”
“Yes, that was indeed amazing,” he said automatically, as he’d said to a thousand others.
Her smile slowly waned. “You could at least try to sound convincing.”
Sighing, he studied her. He’d been with countless others over the centuries, and she was by far the loveliest. But appearances mattered little to him. What was a beautiful face when a monster could very well lurk beneath? All that mattered was how the other person made you feel, inside and out.
He doubted Arca was a monster inside. She had spent so many years in captivity, both on earth and here in the heavens, that she should have been warped, a shrew at the very least, but when he’d strolled inside, she hadn’t yelled at him. Hadn’t fought him. She had peered at him with wide blue eyes, clasped his hands and smiled, so lonely and desperate for attention, any attention, that she’d caused his chest to constrict.
And when he’d tried to question her about Sienna, when she had shaken her head and said, “After,” already lost to the lust-haze his demon created, Paris had given in without protest.
“I’m sorry,” he said, letting his voice dip with husky promise. Another skill he’d perfected over the years. “It’s just, you wore me out, sweetheart. I have no energy left.”
She chuckled and fell beside him, snuggling into his side. “Cronus won’t find out, I promise. So if you want to return to me…”
He remained silent. He couldn’t sleep with her again. His demon wouldn’t let him. Even if he spent hours kissing and touching her, his cock would remain flaccid and useless. Always did around anyone he’d already bedded, and really, Paris wouldn’t have wanted a repeat, anyway. He felt guilty enough, sleeping with anyone other than Sienna.
He’d had her and he could have her again. He could get hard just thinking about her. Which was why everyone he’d nailed after her was like a slap in her beautiful face. Like she wasn’t good enough for him. Like she couldn’t satisfy him. But he couldn’t save her if he died and he really would die if he remained celibate.
Plus, he felt guilty for another reason. These lovers of his…they didn’t want him, not really. If not for his demon, they might not have ever slept with him, might have turned him down flat, found him unattractive, whatever. So, in a way, he was forcing them to be with him.
As always, his mind cringed away from the thought.
“What’s wrong?” Arca asked. “You tensed up.”
He forced himself to relax and rubbed her arm up and down, a gentle caress. “Earlier I mentioned a woman. A slave, killed and in soul form, and now possessed by a demon. Wrath. Her soul is invisible to the naked eye.” He tried not to reveal his own sense of desperation. “Do you know of whom I speak?”
She twirled a braid around one of her fingers. “Yes. I remember. You want to know where Cronus is keeping her.”
Easy, steady. “Do you know the answer?”
“I haven’t heard anything, no.”
He closed his eyes, fighting a rush of disappointment and regret. He’d thought…he’d hoped…he’d been so sure…
“But,” she went on, “I do know where he kept prisoners he couldn’t control, people he didn’t want anyone to find, before his imprisonment in Tartarus.”
“Tell me.” The words rang out with more force than he’d intended.
“I’ll do better than that.” Her arms tightened around him, and she trembled. “I’ll show you.”
His stomach churned. Can’t alienate her. “You know that isn’t possible, sweetheart,” he croaked. “You have to stay here.”
“But…” She sat up again, expression tight as her braids fell around them, framing them. “Please. I have to leave. I can’t stay here any longer. I hate it, and I’m slowly going insane. Please.”
He cupped her cheeks, trying to be gentle. “Tell me where to find this secret place and once my mission is done, I’ll come back for you. I’ll find a way to save you.”
Tears pooled in her eyes. “That could take forever. You could die.”
“I know and I’m sorry, but that’s all I can offer.” He couldn’t save her now. He couldn’t try and free her now. That would alert Cronus. The god king would come gunning for him and Sienna would be lost to him forever.